Free Press Journal

Bombay High Court junks PIL against MoS Ranjit Patil in BKC eatery issue


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Mumbai: The Bombay High Court today dismissed a PIL seeking a probe against Maharashtra’s Minister of State for Urban Development Ranjit Patil for allegedly misusing his powers to protect an unauthorised eatery in the city.

A division bench headed by Justice B R Gavai while dismissing the petition said petitioner Pravin Wategaonkar made “wild” allegations against the minister whose bonafide “we cannot question”.

“The petition has made wild allegations….minister has, in his affidavit, admitted that he had stayed demolition of the eatery but later vacated it. At the most we can say the stay order was passed by the minister without jurisdiction. But we cannot question his bonafide and (decide) if there was any criminal intent,” the court said.

The PIL did not state if the minister’s order caused a loss to the government, the judges said. “If we allow the petition and order an FIR to be lodged, then it would open floodgates for such petitions seeking FIRs against ministers and bureaucrats,” the HC said.

Wategaonkar had alleged that the state’s urban planning body MMRDA had leased space in the Bandra Kurla Complex here to a private firm for running a food court. The MMRDA later found that the company had carried out unauthorised constructions, and issued a demolition notice.

The company agreed to demolish the unauthorised structure, but in August 2016 it approached Patil, requesting that the demolition order be stayed. Patil granted a stay immediately, the PIL claimed.

The minister, in his affidavit, refuted the allegations.

The director of the company Spice and Grains Overseas Ltd, which runs the eatery, misrepresented the facts to obtain a stay, and after realising this, Patil revoked his order, the affidavit said.